CNN legal expert says idea of Trump being acquitted in hush money case is ‘out of reach’

CNN’s legal expert Norm Eisen said there’s little chance of former President Trump being acquitted in his criminal hush money trial after jury deliberation this week, but that a result is far from decided.

Prosecutors allege Trump illegally covered up hush money payments made to an porn actor in the weeks before the 2016 election to cover up a past affair with her. He was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business documents and has denied the claims.

“This was a winnable case. It still is not a slam dunk, in my view, having been there every day for the prosecution,” Eisen said in a CNN interview with Jim Acosta on Monday. “I think the odds of conviction are somewhere upwards of 80 percent.”

“In part because of this scattershot approach, the defense is not really gunning for an acquittal. That’s out of reach here,” he continued. “What they are hoping for is one angry juror.”

“Whether there’s one juror who either feels sympathy for Trump or just for whatever reason does not follow the evidence and the law. The holdout,” the expert added. “That’s what they’re trying for. Just one.”

Eisen said the case has centered on the testimony of former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, who told the jury that his ex-boss directed him to the payments to porn actor Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election. Prosecutors have argued that the payments were made to intentionally mislead voters.

He predicted a “field day” of closing arguments Tuesday, with Trump’s defense going after Cohen and Daniels in a “scorched-earth attack.”

“I think, realistically, this was a case that could have been winnable by the defense if they pursued a different strategy,” Eisen said. “If they focused on the areas where Michael Cohen was not as corroborated, and they really haven’t had a focused presentation.”

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti added in the interview that the former president’s defense strategy of going for a hung jury could still be a big win for Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for the White House, if it succeeds.

“I would say a lack of a conviction, I would spin as a win if I was on their team,” Mariotti said.

“I will say with somebody as a well known and controversial is Donald Trump, getting a unanimous verdict on anything is — can be challenging,” he continued. “And that is perhaps the dynamic that is the most uncertain.”

“I mean, no one can predict what’s going on in the heads of ordinary people who happen to be on this jury,” the former prosecutor added.

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